Sian Claire Owen, Cardio Debate medical journalist

Polyamines are currently being heralded as the new anti-aging wonder compounds. Found typically in the Mediterranean Diet, this group of naturally-occurring chemicals are associated with anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. [1] And one polyamine in particular – spermidine – is causing much excitement because of its cardio-protective and anti-aging properties.

A recent article published in Nature Medicine provides compelling evidence that backs up these claims. [2]

In this study, mice lacking the autophagy-related protein Atg5 in cardiomyocytes were given oral supplements of spermidine. Researchers found that this supplement improved the mechano-elastic properties of the cardiomyocytes and suppressed subclinical inflammation. In short, this important article (2) showed that spermidine supplements extended the lifespan of the experimental animals probably by exerting cardioprotective actions in these mice.

Furthermore, in the same study Dahl salt-sensitive rats that were fed a high salt diet to induce hypertension and high systemic blood pressure, also benefitted from spermidine supplements. In these animals, the administration of spermidine resulted in prevention of cardiac hypertrophy and enhanced diastolic function, all of which delayed progression to heart failure. [2]

Researchers also assessed (via food questionnaires) the effect of spermidine supplements in humans and found that the administration of this agent was associated with reduced blood pressure and reduced incidences of cardiovascular disease.

In particular, researchers reported that spermidine was “inversely associated with risk of fatal heart failure” and was also “inversely associated with plasma levels of soluble N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP)”, a biomarker for heart failure. [2]

Clearly this ‘miracle compound’ warrants further exploration, and more research is needed to examine how effective spermidine is in humans and the mechanisms of action that are responsible for the beneficial effects of this new molecule.

In the meantime, we may take advantage of the fact that a diet rich in soy beans, peas and blue cheese will help boost our spermidine intake with potentially beneficial effects of cardiovascular aging and disease.  [1]